Why Choose an Independent School?

Key Benefits of an Independent School Education

Character Development
Independent schools are focused on academic excellence and innovation, and employ exceptional teachers with specialized training in their respective subject areas. However, independent schools place significant value on developing confident, caring young people who are character driven and community minded. WPGA dedicates substantial resources to fulfill this mission, such as with our character education program (CARE), student-led service programs, and international outreach trips to countries including Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

Cocurricular Activities
Clubs and activities are an important part of the independent school experience. WPGA offers over 40 teacher-led clubs tailored to all ages, interests and abilities, including science, math, robotics, musical theatre, photography, art, jazz, Destination Imagination, Planet Club, Model UN, debate and public speaking. Clubs give students the opportunity to master skills, explore passions, make friends, and even travel the world. Clubs are included in tuition, as is participation in team sports, choir and band, drama, art, outdoor education, and all other curricular programs. 

Global Learning
At WPGA, a comprehensive languages program, whereby all students learn second and third languages from junior kindergarten, offers students a global advantage, as do our learning partnerships with Connected North, which partners WPGA classes with those in remote Canadian communities; Global Online Academy, in which students learn and collaborate with teachers and peers from leading schools worldwide; and the Global Studies Program in partnership with the Liu Institute for Global Studies at UBC.

Lifelong Network
Independent school communities, such as the WPGA community, are traditionally close, loyal and supportive. By the time students have graduated from WPGA, whether they enrolled in grade 1 or grade 8, they have made lasting friendships and a lifelong network of connections. At WPGA, our alumni are our most valued ambassadors, and we continually strive to keep them connected within our community and with each other.
Outdoor Education
At WPGA, outdoor education formally starts in grade 3, with day and overnight trips in Squamish, but it actually begins in junior kindergarten, when each day includes outdoor discovery learning. From grade 8, outdoor environmental education, which offers a full-year Wilderness Pursuits elective in grade 9, is integrated into social studies curriculum and includes excursions to BC’s most beautiful natural sites, where connections are made between the environment and science, sustainability, history, art and technology, and where life and leadership skills are developed.   

Specialist Teachers
From junior kindergarten, WPGA specialists teach languages (French, Spanish, Mandarin), physical education (WPGA offers daily PE classes), choir, band, strings, drama, arts (digital, visual, practical), health studies and outdoor education. This depth of knowledge in a subject allows for a highly dynamic and engaged learning experience. 
 
University Counselling
Getting into one's university of choice requires hard work, but making that task easier is the independent school’s university counselling office. At WPGA, counsellors work with students and families on course planning and work placement opportunities. They also coordinate university tours and host events such as Careers Week, the Vancouver Area Independent Schools Fair, the Canadian Universities Event, and the Vancouver International Universities Fair, attended by admissions officers from top postsecondary institutions across the globe.

What Is An Independent School?

Independent schools are nonprofit learning institutions at the elementary and/or secondary level that are  governed by a Board of Directors and, in British Columbia, regulated by the Independent Schools Act. In BC, independent schools are classified into four categories; West Point Grey Academy is a category 2 school, and follows Ministry of Education curriculum and standards. Independent schools are supported through tuition payments, charitable contributions, endowment income, and government grants; WPGA receives 13% per student Ministry funding. WPGA is accredited by the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools and is a member of the Independent Schools Association of British Columbia.
 
All independent schools strive to nurture children to fulfill their unique potential, yet each school offers a different educational approach and a distinct vision, mission, core values, culture and community. The challenge for families is to select the best independent school for their child and family, one that complements their child’s personality and interests, is able to meet their learning and social-emotional needs, and reflects their goals and aspirations in terms of an overall educational experience.